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NATURAL DISASTER

Hundreds of thousands lost their jobs in Turkey-Syria quake: UN

Collapsed buildings in Antakya, early February 2023. (Credit: Mohamed Yassin/L'Orient Today)

Hundreds of thousands of workers in Turkey and Syria have lost their jobs due to the earthquake, the United Nations said Tuesday, as it called for urgent support to rebuild businesses.

The earthquake has had a devastating impact on workers and enterprises, the UN's labour agency said.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) calculated that in the 11 affected provinces in Turkey, over 657,000 people have lost their means of making a living.

In Syria's five affected governorates, the ILO estimated that around 170,000 people have lost their employment due to the destruction.

The 7.8-magnitude quake and its aftershocks killed more than 55,000 people across southeastern Turkey and parts of war-torn Syria.

"People can only begin to rebuild their lives if they have rebuilt their livelihoods," said ILO chief Gilbert Houngbo.

"We owe it to those who have lost so much in the earthquake to ensure that the principles of social justice and decent work are firmly embedded in the recovery and reconstruction process."

The ILO calculated that for "as long as the situation continues," the average affected worker in Turkey would lose around $230 a month.

Overall, the crisis is estimated to reduce the take-home labour income of the affected region by around $150 million per month.

Besides job losses, the ILO warned of increased risks to occupational safety and health in Turkey, as well as child labour.

The temporary loss of 170,000 jobs in Syria has led to total labour income losses equivalent to at least $5.7 million a month, the ILO said.

The job losses have directly affected over 154,000 households and more than 725,000 people and some 35,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises have been affected.

"The loss of these businesses goes beyond the loss in incomes and encompasses the cost of the physical damage to their infrastructure, such as buildings, equipment, and inventory," the ILO added.

In Turkey, the ILO stated that it is helping Turkish business organisations and trade unions function and provide critical services. The organization is also planning initiatives to aid seasonal agricultural workers, child workers and refugees.

In Syria, the UN agency is providing grants to help support affected workers and businesses.

Hundreds of thousands of workers in Turkey and Syria have lost their jobs due to the earthquake, the United Nations said Tuesday, as it called for urgent support to rebuild businesses.

The earthquake has had a devastating impact on workers and enterprises, the UN's labour agency said.

The International Labour Organization (ILO)...